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Uppsala 76a, no. 66, ff. 68v-73 »Kirie – Langentibus in purgatorio« 2v (unicum)

Kirie eleison

[1] Langentibus in purgatorio,
qui purgatur ardore nimio
dum torquentur sine remedio,
subveniat tua compacio.

[2] Clavis David qui celos aperis,
bone Ihesu sucure miseris,
qui tormentis torquentur asperis,
educ eos de domo carseris.

[3] Lex justorum, norma credencium,
vera salus in te sperancium,
pro defunctis sit tibi studium
assidue orare filium.

[4] Ad te, pia, suspirant mortui,
cupientes de penis erui
et adesse tuo conspectui
et gaudiis eternis perfrui.

[5] O fons patens, que culpas abluis,
manum tuam extende mortuis,
omnes sanas et nullum respuis,
qui sub penis languent continuis.

[6] In tremendo dei judicio,
quando fiet stricta discusio,
tunc etiam suplica filio,
ut eis sit cum sanctis porsio.

[7] Dies illa, dies terribilis,
dies mala intollerabilis,
sed tu, mater, semper amabilis,
fac sit nobis judex placabilis.

[8] Benedicta per tua merita,
te rogamus, mortuos visita
et dimitens eorum debita
in requiem sit eis semita.

Lord have mercy.

To those languishing in Purgatory,
who are purged by the great fire,
as they are tortured without respite,
let your compassion come.

Good Lord Jesus, who opens the heavens
with the keys of David, succour the wretched
who are tortured with bitter torments.
Lead them out of the house of imprisonment.

Law of the just, Rule unto the Faithful,
True Salvation of those who hope in you,
let it be your care unceasingly
to pray to your son for the dead.

To you, Holy One, the dead are sighing,
longing for release from their pain,
to come before your face
and to delight in eternal bliss.

O clear fountain that washes away sins,
stretch out your hand to the dead.
You purify all and reject none
who languish in incessant pain.

In the fearful court of God,
when that great division is made,
then, too, implore your Son
that their lot be among the holy.

That day, that awesome day,
that evil and unbearable day –
but oh, Mother always kind,
make the Judge look mercifully upon us.

We pray you, blessed in your goodness:
help the dead,
forgiving them their trespasses,
and guide their path to rest.

Entered by Hand B in primitive white mensural notation. The text is a widely circulated prayer for the deceased in Purgatory (a strophic trope for the responsory “Libera me”). Its eight stanzas correspond to stanzas 1, 4, 5, 3, 2, 7, 8 and 6 in the version published in Mone 1853, Vol. I pp. 400-402, supplemented by the litany “Kirie eleyson” (on the text, see further the related compositions). All stanzas are copied out in full with careful text-underlay. In stanza 8 the text-underlay of the lower voice stops after the first words as if the work was interrupted – the exemplar may have contained further stanzas.

The setting starts with “Kirie eleyson” in simple two-part polyphony, which probably is to be sung as a refrain between the stanzas. Then follows stanza 1 in a setting for two low voices (two F3-clefs, setting A), while stanza 2 has different music in the same voice-range, but notated in different clefs (C4 and F4, setting B). Hereafter the two settings alternate, setting A for the odd stanzas, B for the even. A performance might involve two alternating groups of singers who then all sang the “Kirie” as a sort of ‘refrain’.

The music of settings A and B is notated in mensural notation, but without any indication of mensuration (the transcription is unmeasured, the numbers at the start of staffs count semibreves). The settings of the stanzas include stock phrases from polyphony according to contrapunctus rules, but are basically modernised simple polyphony with the voices moving note-against-note in contrary or parallel motion, mainly in thirds, and with much use of voice crossing. If one imagines them as settings in a black semi-mensural notation and without some of the embellishments, and articulated with fermatas (here replaced by rests), they would not be different from much of the repertory in the MS Amiens 162 D.

Contemporary or older settings of the text:

Amiens, Bibliothèque Centrale Louis Aragon, ms. 162 D, ff. 10v-13 »Lugentibus in purgatorio« 3v

»Lugentibus in purgatorio« 2v in
Grand-Saint-Bernard, Bibliothèque de l’Hospice, Ms. 7 (2038) ff. 60v-63v »Lugentibus in purgatorio« 2v “Pro fidelibus deffunctis”, and
Tübingen, Universitätsbibliothek, MS Mk 96, ff. 55v-57 »Lugentibus in purgatorio« 2v

Lyon, Bibliothèque de la Ville, ms. 6632 fonds musicales, f. 12 »Lugentibus in purgatorio« 2-3v

PWCH March 2014